Accessing and managing users

Users are an indispensible part of your web GIS. As the number of users grow, you can see value in automating your management tasks such as provisioning licenses, privileges, creating and removing user accounts etc. The gis module provides you with User and UserManager classes to respresent users as objects and help you accomplish the most common tasks. In this guide, we will learn about:

As you might have seen the pattern with ContentManager and Item objects, the UserManager object is a resource manager that gives you access to User objects. You access a UserManager object not by instantiating that class through its constructor, but by accessing the users property of your GIS object. This is the typical pattern of usage throughout the gis module.

About your account

Let us get to know a bit about our logged in account before we observe how to manage other user accounts. Let us import the GIS class from gis module and connect to an ArcGIS Enterprise:

In [1]:
from arcgis.gis import GIS
gis = GIS("portal url", "username", "password")

You can access your user account by accessing me property as shown below:

In [2]:
me =
arcgis python

Bio: None
First Name: arcgis
Last Name: python
Username: arcgis_python_api
Joined: November 11, 2016

Similar to Item objects, when using the Jupyter notebook IDE, you can visualize User objects in rich HTML representation with thumbnails and attribute information.

Properties of a User object

You can query much more information about the user account as properties on the User object:

In [3]:

You can find out when an account was last active and determine if an account was abandoned and remove it if necessary.

In [21]:
import time
# convert Unix epoch time to local time
created_time = time.localtime(me.created/1000)
print("Created: {}/{}/{}".format(created_time[0], created_time[1], created_time[2]))

last_accessed = time.localtime(me.lastLogin/1000)
print("Last active: {}/{}/{}".format(last_accessed[0], last_accessed[1], last_accessed[2]))
Created: 2016/11/11
Last active: 2016/12/12

Let us print some more information about this account

In [23]:
print(me.description, " ",, " ", me.firstName, " ", me.lastName, " ", me.fullName)
print(me.level, " ", me.mfaEnabled, " ", me.provider, " ", me.userType)
None   arcgis   python   arcgis python
2   False   arcgis   arcgisonly

You can determine how much storage is being used by this account

In [25]:
quota = me.storageQuota
used = me.storageUsage
pc_usage = round((used / quota)*100, 2)
print("Usage: " + str(pc_usage) + "%")
Usage: 0.12%

You can determine the groups the user is a member of:

In [27]:
user_groups = me.groups
print("Member of " + str(len(user_groups)) + " groups")

# groups are returned as a dictionary. Lets print the first dict as a sample
Member of 3 groups
{'access': 'public',
 'capabilities': [],
 'created': 1479768353725,
 'description': None,
 'id': '90aa28e7a3a0467da2ec4d508d019775',
 'isFav': False,
 'isInvitationOnly': False,
 'isReadOnly': False,
 'isViewOnly': False,
 'modified': 1479768353725,
 'owner': 'arcgis_python_api',
 'phone': None,
 'provider': None,
 'providerGroupName': None,
 'snippet': None,
 'sortField': 'avgRating',
 'sortOrder': 'desc',
 'tags': ['arcgis_python_api', 'automation', 'dino_tests'],
 'thumbnail': None,
 'title': 'group1',
 'userMembership': {'applications': 0,
  'memberType': 'owner',
  'username': 'arcgis_python_api'}}

Searching for user accounts

The search() method of UserManager class helps you search for users of the org. The query parameter in the search() method accepts standard ArcGIS REST API queries and behaves similar to the search method on ContentManager and GroupManager classes. To illustrate this better, let us search ArcGIS Online as there are many more users available there.

In [28]:
# anonymous connection to ArcGIS Online
ago_gis = GIS()
In [85]:
# search the users whose email address ends with
esri_public_accounts ='email =')

Each element in the list returned is a User object that you can query.

In [73]:
# lets filter out Esri curator accounts from this list
curator_accounts = [acc for acc in esri_public_accounts if acc.username.startswith('Esri_Curator')]
[<User username:Esri_Curator_Basemaps>,
 <User username:Esri_Curator_Boundaries>,
 <User username:Esri_Curator_Demographic>,
 <User username:Esri_Curator_EarthObs>,
 <User username:Esri_Curator_Historical>,
 <User username:Esri_Curator_Imagery>,
 <User username:Esri_Curator_Landscape>,
 <User username:Esri_Curator_Transport>,
 <User username:Esri_Curator_Urban>]
In [74]:
Esri Curator for Basemaps

Bio: This account is managed by Esri, Inc. staff and used to curate Basemap content for the Living Atlas of the World. To nominate your content for the Living Atlas, please visit To contact the Esri Curators, please email
First Name: Esri Curator
Last Name: for Basemaps
Username: Esri_Curator_Basemaps
Joined: March 31, 2015

Once you know a user's username, you can access that object using the get() method. Let us access the Esri curator account for historical maps

In [88]:
esri_hist_maps = ago_gis.users.get(username='Esri_Curator_Historical')
Esri Curator for Historical Maps

Bio: This account is managed by Esri, Inc. staff and used to curate Historical Map content for the Living Atlas of the World. To nominate your content for the Living Atlas, please visit To contact the Esri Curators, please email
First Name: Esri Curator
Last Name: for Historical Maps
Username: Esri_Curator_Historical
Joined: March 31, 2015

Creating new user accounts

You can add new users to the org using either the signup() or create() methods available on the UserManager class. The signup() method is limited in scope as it can be used only for adding built-in accounts to an ArcGIS Enterprise instance and not for an org that is hosted on ArcGIS Online. However, you can call the signup() anonymously and does not require admin privileges unlike the create() method. Note, you can disable self-signup in your ArcGIS Enterprise which would render the signup() unusable if you wanted to turn the org invite-only.

You need admin privileges to call the create() method. This method is powerful as it allows you to create new accounts from arcgis built-in credential store or your enterprise's credential store. In case of accounts from built-in credential store, you would provide a password when the account is created. The user can change it at any time once they login. For accounts from your enterprise's credential store, you can ignore the password parameter and your users will authenticate through that credential store.

Let us log in to an ArcGIS Enterprise and create some users:

In [90]:
# let us create a built-in account with username: demo_user1 with org_user privilege
demo_user1 = gis.users.create(username = 'demo_user1',
                            password = '0286eb9ac01f',
                            firstname = 'demo',
                            lastname = 'user',
                            email = '',
                            description = 'Demonstrating how to create users using ArcGIS Python API',
                            role = 'org_user',
                            provider = 'arcgis')
In [91]:
demo user

Bio: Demonstrating how to create users using ArcGIS Python API
First Name: demo
Last Name: user
Username: demo_user1
Joined: December 13, 2016

Note that we specified provider as arcgis. If you were creating accounts from your enterprise credential store, you would specify this value as enterprise and use the idpUsername parameter to specify the username of the user in that credential store. To learn more about this configuration, refer to this help topic on setting up enterprise logins.

Note, the role parameter was specified as org_user. This takes us to the next section on Role and RoleManager objects.

About user roles

ArcGIS provides a security concept called roles which defines the privileges a user has within an organization. By default, your org has 3 roles - org_user, org_publisher and org_admin. You can refer to this topic on organizational roles to learn about these three roles and their privileges. In summary, a user role can be an active user of the org, create items, join groups and share content. A publisher role has all of user privileges and can create hosted content and perform analysis. An administrator role has all possible privileges.

Depending on the size of your org and the security needs, you can customize this and create any number of roles with fine grained privileges. For reference on custom roles in an org, refer to this doc

To know about the role of a User object, you can query the role property:

In [93]:
demo_user1_role = demo_user1.role
<class 'str'>

Since this user was created with a built in role specified as a string, we get back a string with value org_user.

Managing user roles

Let us create a new role that can only publish tile layers. This role should have none of admin privileges and can have only some of user privileges, namely creating new items and joining groups.

Creating new roles

To create a new role, call the create() on RoleManager class. As with any resource manager, you should access it through the roles property on a UserManager object. You should access the UserManager object in turn through the users property of your GIS object.

In [96]:
# create a tiles publisher role
privilege_list = ['portal:publisher:publishTiles',

tiles_pub_role = gis.users.roles.create(name = 'tiles_publisher',
                                       description = 'User that can publish tile layers',
                                       privileges = privilege_list)

<Role name: tiles_publisher, description: User that can publish tile layers>
In [97]:
# inspect the privileges of this role

Note: the privileges parameter was provided a list of strings specifying each individual privilege. Refer to the api ref doc on the privileges parameter to know about the finite list of strings you can use.

Creating a user with a custom role

Now that we created a Role object with desired privileges, let us create a new user with this role. The workflow here is to create a user account with one of 3 default roles then use the update_role() method of the User object to update to a custom role.

In [98]:
tiles_pub_user = gis.users.create(username='tiles_publisher',
                                 password = 'b0cb0c9f63e',
                                 firstname = 'tiles',
                                 lastname = 'publisher',
                                 email = '',
                                 description = 'custom role, can only publish tile layers',
                                 role = 'org_user') #org_user as thats the closest.

tiles publisher

Bio: custom role, can only publish tile layers
First Name: tiles
Last Name: publisher
Username: tiles_publisher
Joined: December 13, 2016

Querying the privileges property of a User object returns a list of strings with fine grained privileges. When creating a Role object, you can pick and choose from this or refer to the api ref doc.

In [100]:

Let us update this user's privileges

In [106]:
tiles_pub_user.update_role(role = tiles_pub_role)
In [107]:
# query the privileges to confirm

Querying the roleId property of a User returns you the custom roles' ID. You can use this to search for that role to know more details or create another user with the same role:

In [109]:
In [110]:
searched_role = gis.users.roles.get_role(tiles_pub_user.roleId)
'User that can publish tile layers'

Listing all the custom roles in an org

When migrating users from one org to another or even to duplicate an org on new infrastructure, you would go through the process of cloning the users and their roles. For this, you can get the list of roles using the all() method on the RolesManager resource object:

In [111]:
[<Role name: Viewer, description: Viewer>,
 <Role name: tiles_publisher, description: User that can publish tile layers>,
 <Role name: role1, description: role1>,
 <Role name: role1, description: role1>,
 <Role name: role1, description: role1>,
 <Role name: role1, description: role1>]

Deleting user accounts

You can delete user accounts by calling the delete() method on a User object from an account that has administrator privileges. However, deleting raises important questions such as what happens to the content owned by that user? Further, ArcGIS does not allow you to delete users until you have dealt with that users' items and groups. Thus as an administrator, it becomes useful to list and view the content owned by any user in your org.

Accessing user content

Once you have a User object, you can view the folders and items owned by the user by querying the folders property and calling the items() method.

In [114]:
# let us access an account named publisher1
publisher1 = gis.users.get('publisher1')
publisher1 dino

Bio: None
First Name: publisher1
Last Name: dino
Username: publisher1
Joined: November 21, 2016
In [116]:
#list all folders as dictionaries
publisher1_folder_list = publisher1.folders
[{'created': 1479773023422,
  'id': '318b56a2280d49d0894c0b7ac66e01fd',
  'title': 'f1_english',
  'username': 'publisher1'},
 {'created': 1479773023854,
  'id': 'b9680c43ee184e1faa5aa9990359ac6a',
  'title': 'f2_敏感性增加',
  'username': 'publisher1'},
 {'created': 1479773024225,
  'id': '1bafef1c4bf54a108d1b85f0f5ae7d3e',
  'title': 'f3_Kompatibilität',
  'username': 'publisher1'}]
In [118]:
# list all items belonging to this user
publisher1_item_list_rootfolder = publisher1.items()
print("Total number of items in root folder: " + str(len(publisher1_item_list_rootfolder)))

#access the first item for a sample
Total number of items in root folder: 33
CSV by publisher1
Last Modified: November 22, 2016
0 comments, 2 views
In [119]:
# list all items in the first folder
publisher1.items(folder = publisher1_folder_list[0])
[<Item title:"set1_major_cities" type:Locator Package owner:publisher1>,
 <Item title:"set1_shifting_opportunity" type:Image owner:publisher1>,
 <Item title:"set1_DSHS_Regions" type:KML owner:publisher1>,
 <Item title:"set1_Counties" type:KML owner:publisher1>,
 <Item title:"set1_Counties" type:KML owner:publisher1>,
 <Item title:"set1_shifting_opportunity" type:Image owner:publisher1>,
 <Item title:"set1_shifting_opportunity" type:Image owner:publisher1>]

Thus using a GIS object created with an account that has admin privileges, you were able to query the contents of another user without knowing that user's password or logging in as that user.

Reassigning user content

As an administrator, you have the privileges to list and view other users' content. When the time comes to delete a user account, you can filter these items and choose to preserve some of them and delete the rest.

Let us delete the tiles_pub_user account we created earlier in this guide.

In [120]:
# list the items owned by the user
tiles_pub_user_items = tiles_pub_user.items()
[<Item title:"ocean_tiles" type:Map Service owner:tiles_publisher>,
 <Item title:"ocean_tiles2" type:Map Service owner:tiles_publisher>,
 <Item title:"Transport_tiles" type:Map Service owner:tiles_publisher>,
 <Item title:"income_by_county" type:Map Service owner:tiles_publisher>,
 <Item title:"counties_by_population" type:Map Service owner:tiles_publisher>,
 <Item title:"ocean_tiles3" type:Map Service owner:tiles_publisher>]

You can reassign specific items to another user by calling the reassign_to() method on that Item object. Let us reassign the tile layer named Transport_tiles to publisher1 account from earlier. We can get rid of the redundant ocean_tiles items and reassign the rest, to the account arcgis_python_api. Since this user does not have privilege to create groups, we do not have to worry about that. We can then delete this user safely.

In [121]:
# reassign Transport_tiles to publisher1
transport_tiles_item = tiles_pub_user_items[2]
highways, roads, railroads, airportsMap Image Layer by tiles_publisher
Last Modified: December 13, 2016
0 comments, 0 views
In [122]:
# the reassign_to() method accepts user name as a string. We can also specify a destination folder name
transport_tiles_item.reassign_to(target_owner = 'publisher1', target_folder= 'f1_english')
In [123]:
# now let us get rid of redundant ocean tiles items
In [124]:
tiles_pub_user_items[-1].delete()  # an index of -1 in a list refers to the last item

Now we are left with a few more items which should all go to user arcgis_python_api. We can either call reassign_to() method of the User object or call the delete() method of the User object and pass this information to the reassign_to parameter. Let's do that:

In [125]:

Thus, we have successfully deleted a user after taking care of that user's content.

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